What would you do if you look 15 years into your future? Would you be happy and have everything you always wanted or would you be miserable? If you found out something horrible would you want to do everything you could to change it? These are some of the questions that Josh and Emma ask themselves in the excellent new novel by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, The Future of Us.
It’s 1996 and less than half of all high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented for another eight years.
Josh and Emma have been neighbours their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long – at least until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL (America Online) CD in the mail, his mum makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When the two friends log on, they discover their profiles on Facebook.
And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
Everyone wonders what their destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.
I loved everything about this book! The chapters alternate between Josh (written by Jay Asher) and Emma (written by Carolyn Mackler) and are written in first person so you really get inside their heads to find out what they think and feel. Josh is a really down-to-earth, likeable guy who goes with the flow. I could see alot of myself in him, especially in how he copes in different situations. Josh sees the danger in playing around with his future so mostly just lets things happen. Emma, on the other hand, sees that her future self appears to be miserable and wants to do everything she can to change her future. I started to get annoyed with Emma because she just never seemed to be happy, but when I thought about it I would probably want to do the same too. I think Jay and Carolyn chose the best ending for their characters though.
One thing I really liked about the book was all the references to the ’90s. I was 12 in 1996 so I have pretty good memories of this time. Every time there was a reference to a band or movie it made me laugh, especially the Wayne’s World references. I also loved their references to things that didn’t exist in 1996, especially Facebook. As I’m not on Facebook I could relate to how weird they thought it was. Here’s my favourite quote:
“Why would anyone say this stuff about themselves on the Internet? It’s crazy?”
“Exactly,” I say. “I’m going to be mentally ill in fifteen years, and that’s why my husband doesn’t want to be around me.”
The Future of Us is one of my top reads of the year (so far) and the characters will stick with me for a long time.
5 out of 5 stars